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The European Parliament’s decision not to immediately pass the new EU Copyright Directive in July was seen by many as a major setback. It was defeated by 318 to 278, a margin of 40 votes. This means the proposed legislation now moves forward to a full plenary debate and vote next Wednesday 12 September.

As the music industry faces this pivotal moment, it is worth reflecting how we got here and what we are now facing.

The creative industries as a whole have long argued that embryonic digital legislation passed in the mid 1990s is outdated and simply not fit for purpose. The legislative process is slow at the best of times. Meanwhile, the tech industry “moved fast and broke things,” incurring the wrath of creators whose livelihoods have been upended as a result.

The publication of the draft EU Copyright Directive in late 2016 was an achievement in itself. Not only did the draft legislation address copyright protection and safe harbour loopholes, it also contained provisions concerning fairness and transparency towards creators. Following further debate and lobbying, is even more of an achievement that the key elements of the draft directive remain mostly intact.

The Directive has not been without it’s critics, as is the case with any proposed legislation. Academics, libraries and dignitaries such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee have all put forth concerns. We in the music industry can acknowledge some concerns as understandable even if we believe they are unfounded.

What is not understandable are the thoroughly vile and dishonest tactics deployed during the course of this year, whose objective is to stop the legislation in its tracks at any cost. The scale of this activity reads like set pieces straight out of the Cambridge Analytica playbook.

Some in the music industry have questioned how we fight back given the vast funding involved and the sheer scale of this enterprise. But fight back we must and the actions of those we face only serve to give us greater strength.

As any Jiu-Jitsu grandmaster will tell you: use your opponents’ force against them. In this case, we should call out the deceitful actions from within the tech sector and elsewhere and those actions speak louder than any words.

  • The Financial Times reported some MEPs received death threats

  • MEPs were each bombarded with over 60,000 emails from bots

  • These emails contained identical content according to The Trichordist

  • The same blog named the domain name from which a large number of these emails originated and its link to a US Inc. entity.

  • The same tactics have been found on Twitter: multiple bot accounts promoting #SaveOurInternet and similar hashtags

  • This contrasts to real world protests that only drew a few hundred protestors combined across Europe. The bots did not show up.

 

These actions must also be viewed against the current backdrop where tech firms have been scrutinised for avoiding responsibility concerning:

  • Blatantly dishonest content

  • Content that incites hatred and violence

  • Little accountability in how such content is disseminated

  • Minimal transparency in how user data is abused in facilitating all this

Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey are amongst those tech executives rebuked by lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, for failing to take responsibility and failing to act in managing their own platforms. This is reflective of a broader failure that lies at the heart of a misguided and libertarian ideal, that somehow tech firms are exempt from laws and rules that govern the rest of the world.

The music industry and broader creative and media industries are made up of real people, filled with passion and blood pumping through their veins. They compose their own emails, speak to politicians and show up in person.

At the UK Music organized #LoveMusic busking event in London earlier today, artists, executives and even politicians turned out in support. Artists such as Brett Anderson, Ed Harcourt, Dave Rowntree, Madeleina Kay, Newton Faulkner and BASCA Chair Crispin Hunt. In addition a number of cross party British MPs who support the directive including Tom Watson, Nigel Evans and Kevin Brennan were amongst those in attendance.

One has to ask, if those opposing the EU Copyright Directive have such a compelling argument, why do they resort to such deceitful means? If we judge their actions, the arguments of those opposed to the directive hold no legitimacy and the European Parliament should vote in favour of the directive.

Andy Edwards, music manager and consultant
@andyedwardsbiz

10 Jul 2020 | Press release

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10 Jul 2020 | Press release

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09 Jul 2020 | Press release

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09 Jul 2020 | Press release

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09 Jul 2020 | Press release

Eric Wong named President & CMO for Warner Recorded Music

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09 Jul 2020 | Press release

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09 Jul 2020 | Press release

Government endorse industry-led guidance for music production

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08 Jul 2020 | Press release

The Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union warn that a new wave of buyout deals damage composers’ rights and careers

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08 Jul 2020 | Press release

Wireless Connect soars with stand-out performances for fans across the globe

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08 Jul 2020 | Press release

Commercial radio boosts news output in response to Covid-19

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08 Jul 2020 | Press release

No Specific Support For Nightclubs Or Late Night Venues In Chancellor's Statement – Industry Is Falling Through The Cracks

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08 Jul 2020 | Press release

UK Music chief calls on Chancellor to extend VAT cut to ensure music industry is not left behind

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08 Jul 2020 | Press release

Sony/ATV Signs Linus Wiklund to Worldwide Publishing Deal

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08 Jul 2020 | Press release

Alexey Blinov named VP, Technology at Songkick

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08 Jul 2020 | Press release

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07 Jul 2020 | Press release

Deaf Havana online performance

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07 Jul 2020 | Press release

Scottish commercial music industry task force established

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07 Jul 2020 | Press release

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07 Jul 2020 | Press release

Sony/ATV Signs Bobby Sessions to Worldwide Publishing Deal

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06 Jul 2020 | Press release

Sophie Ellis-Bextor launches her brand-new podcast Spinning Plates

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06 Jul 2020 | Press release

Wide Days Announces Its Virtual Conference, Networking & Music Programme

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06 Jul 2020 | Press release

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06 Jul 2020 | Press release

Reactions to the support package for the arts

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06 Jul 2020 | Press release

Tom Meighan Leaves Kasabian

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06 Jul 2020 | Press release

AIF seeks urgent clarity on Government’s £1.57bn fund for the arts

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06 Jul 2020 | Press release

Sony/ATV Signs Worldwide Publishing Deal with Freddy Wexler

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06 Jul 2020 | Press release

Imagine Entertainment and Warner Music Group form wide-ranging, multi-project strategic partnership

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05 Jul 2020 | Press release

£1.57 billion investment to protect Britain's world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions

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03 Jul 2020 | Press release

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03 Jul 2020 | Press release

Apple Music Launches New Artist Discovery Program Africa Rising

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10 Jul 2020

  • Sony buys stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games (see Business)

  • Midyear analysis of the US market shows album audio consumption up; sales down (see Analysis)

09 Jul 2020

  • Samantha Moy appointed 6 Music's Head of Station (see Media)

  • Spotify: Launches in Russia next week; doubles down on fraud allegations against Sosa Entertainment; strikes podcast advertising deal (see Digital)

  • Covid-19: WHO acknowledges evidence on coronavirus spread - could impact events (see News)

  • Culture Secretary tweets VAT cut to 5% for 'attractions' including concerts (see News)

08 Jul 2020

  • YouTube rolls out new analytics hub for creators (see Digital)

  • Ivors Academy and Musicians’ Union warn partnership between Epidemic Sound and Adobe could undermine royalties for composers (see News)

07 Jul 2020

  • Composer Ennio Morricone passes away (see News, Features)

  • Imagine Entertainment and Warner Music Group strike deal (see Business)

  • The Weeknd and Lewis Capaldi lead half-year sales charts (see News)

06 Jul 2020

  • Government announces support package for arts sector (see News)

03 Jul 2020

  • New legislation means analogue signal for radio won't be scrapped until 2032 (see Media)

  • Deezer partners with Mexican broadcaster; now valued at €1.3bn (see Business)

  • Hipgnosis aims to raise £200m (see Business)

02 Jul 2020

  • 1,500 musicians sign letter to culture secretary calling for help for venues (see News)

  • BMG strikes deal with ITV Studios (see Business)

  • MelodyVR reports financial results (see Business)

01 Jul 2020

  • Music Venue Trust seeks 'urgent clarification' on building project policy (see News)

  • Podcast creators find networks own the shows (see Digital)

30 Jun 2020

  • Artlist raises $48m additional funding (see Business)

  • Ivors awards ceremony cancelled; winners announced 2 September (see News)

  • Half-year touring figures analysed (see Analysis)

29 Jun 2020

  • BRIT Awards date moved (see News)

  • Music Venues Trust responds to Government 'roadmap' plan (see News)